Christ gives us a series of parables which give us insight into the effects of the preached word on those who hear it. He also calms a storm, prompting his disciples to seriously consider who he is.
We confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He is worthy of our worship and worthy of our most complete loyalty and commitment.
We pray that you would fill us with the confidence we need to be open about our faith.
We pray also for patience and perseverance in the task of sowing the word.
We pray that over time our lives would bear fruit as you intend. Let us be that good soil in which your word produces fruit, thirty, sixty and one hundredfold what we are given.
We look to you as the one who can make that happen in our lives, and we know full well it is not something that we can accomplish in and of ourselves.
Sometimes God works clearly, obviously and quickly. Sometimes he does not. Please keep reading
1 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
2 Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, 3 and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram, 4 and Ram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon,5 and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, 6 and Jesse the father of David the king.
And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, 7 and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph, 8 and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah,9 and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, 10 and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah,11 and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.
12 And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, 13 and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, 14 and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, 15 and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, 16 and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.
17 So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations.
All of those names. This can feel like a tedious passage – unless you enjoy reading the unfamiliar names of unfamiliar people. All of those names remind us that God is always quietly at work.
In Genesis 12:3 God gave a promise to Abraham that in him all the families of the earth would be blessed. And then God worked while Abraham waited. And God kept working long after Isaac was born and Abraham died. About 1000 years later he gave another promise. Maybe he just wanted to show people he was still there and hadn’t forgotten.
In 2 Samuel 7 God gave a promise to David of an offspring whose kingdom would be established. This kingdom, throne, this dynasty would be made sure forever. And then God kept working while David just went on for a while being king. And then David died, his son Solomon died, and so on. About 1000 years later we come to Matthew 1.
It can be very encouraging when God works suddenly and decisively. It is also wonderful to know that he remains faithful to his promises – to promises that can take thousands of years to fulfill. Oh how impatient I am when I want God to do something today. It took about 2000 years to get from Abraham to Christ, but how encouraging that Christ finally came.
It’s hard to describe the excitement, joy, exhilaration that comes to us when God finally acts after putting us through a long period of waiting. David does a pretty good job of it in Psalm 40. In fact, he lays out the entire process wonderfully for us there.
First there is the waiting and crying out to the Lord.
Then the movement from the pit and the mire to the rock.
That is followed by joyful praise – a new song. It’s no longer a song of sadness, but of thankful, heartfelt rejoicing.
Finally there is the effect that all of this has on others. Their trust in God is increased by observing what He does in our lives.
May the Lord encourage each of us through David’s experience.
I waited patiently for the Lord;
And He inclined to me,
And heard my cry.
He also brought me up out of a horrible pit,
Out of the miry clay,
And set my feet upon a rock,
And established my steps.
He has put a new song in my mouth-
Praise to our God;
Many will see it and fear,
And will trust in the Lord.”
– Psalms 40:1-3 (NKJV)
Patience is produced in the Christian by the indwelling Holy Spirit. It is His longsuffering “fruit”, as Galatians 5:22 informs us. If the Spirit didn’t develop this quality, it might never grow at all. No doubt the very existence of impatience among us is one of the many ways the Fall of the Human Race has adversely impacted our lives . When you see Adam punch him.
God understands well our need for this fruit patience and He knows best how to cultivate it. So He allows us to wait, while we simply have to put up with stuff. If there is one thing bad about this whole process it is that patience is produced while we’re waiting.
When it comes to waiting Jeremiah was an expert: waiting for someone to listen to him, waiting for the Lord to respond, speak or do something miraculous. Jeremiah’s vast crop of patience was watered by his tears. Still, he learned to appreciate it, and to see that waiting for God is good, precisely because God is good to those who wait for Him.
The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
To the soul who seeks Him.
It is good that one should hope and wait quietly
For the salvation of the Lord.”
– Lamentations 3:25-26 (NKJV)